She felt whole once,
Headstrong and untamed
Her past was simple and it was secure
And she longs for it sometimes
At night she dreams that she is six again,
Practicing the piano while her father looks on,
Willing her to be steadfast and methodical
So that she can have the strength to plod through life
The way he has
When she awakes, her fingers itch,
Remembering the old melodies
She was unafraid of anything once
Her greatest dream was to be a storm-chaser
To catch the jagged lightning bolts as they hit the ground
While the enormous clouds rolled overhead
She was jealous of the lightning
Of its careless freedom
She still wants this, to just be wild
But she has changed
It took her awhile to notice
Because she still feels the same at the core
But her defiance and determination
Have been bent and smoothed over time
The result of years of hard work -
Others’ as well as her own
Years of listening to advice and then ignoring it
Making decisions and then regretting them
She has been taught well – taught to listen before speaking
And to think before acting
And so she thinks about her future
And she doesn’t quite feel whole anymore
She is no longer fearless
And so she wishes for safety,
For life to fold around her like a security blanket
Instead of grabbing her hands
To force her into an exuberant dance
Or merely watching her struggle, with its eyes bored and half-closed
The way it seems to now.
She wishes she could have a vast net
To fall into like an unsure trapeze artist
Not a leash to hold her back
But just to know that home is there for her if she needs it
Porch light left on, patiently waiting.